Game of the Week - Chiefs power past Reds
March 28, 2009
The Chiefs' Mils Muliaina is congratulated on a score by team mate Stephen Donald
© Getty Images
The Chiefs confirmed their status as New Zealand's Super 14 trailblazers with another tryfest to dispatch the Reds 50-26 in Brisbane.
The Chiefs scored six tries to register their fourth win in a row and cement their top-four spot in a Suncorp Stadium nightmare for the home crowd of 21,000. Fresh from a nine-try, 63-34 hiding of neighbours the Blues, the Chiefs continued their helter-skelter style with a lineup of speedsters and combative forwards who forced turnovers and ran like backs.
Gelling it all together was All Blacks five-eighth Stephen Donald who scored 23 points. Their only concern as they prepare to host South Africa's Lions is a shoulder injury to winger Sitiveni Sivivatu who departed after scoring two tries in the first 15 minutes -- making it six from two matches.
Captain Mils Muliaina also bagged a double, his second bringing up the half-century 10 minutes from time. "We were pretty good, we were pretty hungry at the breakdown and we knew we had to start well against these guys," Muliaina told Fox Sports. "I'm pretty proud of the effort.... we've got a bit of momentum now and we've won a few games on the trot and we're glad to be going home. "
The Reds were confident of toppling the Chiefs after an energetic 25-13 upset of the high-flying Sharks. But they hadn't won back-to-back matches since 2006 and the bye wasn't helpful as their ordinary defence allowed the Chiefs to attack at will.
The hosts' only consolation was flanker Daniel Braid's 75th minute bonus point try. The contest was all over by halftime as the Chiefs scorched in for five tries to lead 37-12.
An early three-try burst in seven minutes rocked the Reds and set the Chiefs on their way to a demolition. The opening try typified their danger from all over the park, when flanker Tanerau Latimer wrenched a turnover on his own 22m line and Donald dashed 70m to score.
Sivivatu was then the central figure in a bizarre five-minute period when he scored two tries, had another unbelievably denied, then left the field injured. Fresh from a four-try haul against the Blues, Sivivatu bagged another when Muliaina latched onto a Donald crosskick.
Then the busy Sione Lauaki sent Sivivatu over in the corner but Australian referee Ian Smith took assistant referee Simon Moore's word that Sivivatu knocked on. Replays showed Sivivatu clearly scored and the Chiefs were fuming when Smith failed to call for the television match official. Sivivatu soon made amends when he waltzed through from a Callum Bruce half break and it was 19-0 after 14 minutes.
It was Sivivatu's last act of the night as he departed with a shoulder injury caused by a jolt during the disallowed try. His replacement Dwayne Sweeney had an immediate brain explosion when he tackled his opposite Blair Connor in the air and earned a yellow card from Smith.
The Reds scored two tries to get back in the game when Sweeney was absent, hooker Sean Hardman from a rolling maul and Berrick Barnes from an overlap. But that was the last time the hosts threatened as the Chiefs just shifted up a gear.
The Chiefs exploited an inexperienced Reds back three of Connor, debutant Rod Davies and fullback Mark McLinden, with Wallabies winger Peter Hynes (knee) absent. After back-to-back Donald penalties, he banged a pinpoint crosskick into clear air and Muliaina crossed unopposed to bag the four-try bonus point.
There was one more before halftime when Sweeney redeemed himself with a 60m dash from a turnover as the Chiefs went to the break having scored 100 points in their last 120 minutes.
Reds: Mark McLinden; Blair Connor, Digby Ioane, Berrick Barnes, Rod Davies; Quade Cooper, Ben Lucas, Leroy Houston, Daniel Braid, Hugh McMeniman, James Horwill (captain), Van Humphries, Laurie Weeks, Sean Hardman, Ben Daley
Replacements: Saia Faingaa, Jack Kennedy, Scott Higginbotham, Poutasi Luafutu, Brendan McKibbin, Anthony Faingaa, Charlie Fetoai
Chiefs: Mils Muliaina (captain), Lelia Masaga, Richard Kahui, Callum Bruce, Sitiveni Sivivatu, Stephen Donald, Brendon Leonard, Sione Lauaki, Tanerau Latimer, Liam Messam, Kevin O'Neill, Craig Clarke, Ben May, Hika Elliott, Sona Taumalolo
Replacements: Aled de Malmanche, James McGougan, Toby Lynn, Serge Lilo, Toby Morland, Mike Delany, Dwayne Sweeney